The simplest strategy for fall prevention, and to improve senior mobility is: don’t fall in the first place. How? By improving physical well-being and strength, improving balance and the use of a gait aid.
As a person grows older, they become more vulnerable to potential injuries. This is especially true due to the increased risk of falling. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Falls can also greatly affect a person’s quality of life.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risks of fall-related injuries as you age.
Why Seniors Are More Susceptible to Fall-Related Injuries
Younger adults don’t experience many fall-related injuries because their bodies are able to cope with the fall. They are also much less likely to fall in the first place because they have a greater capacity to recover from a loss of balance. Unfortunately, the more you age, the greater the risk of falling becomes. The following are some of the reasons behind this:
- Poor physical health – Not only is your strength likely to diminish naturally over time, you may also experience physical illnesses or limitations that can weaken your muscles and bones, which can make it difficult to prevent yourself from falling if you trip or slip on something.
- Poor balance – The balance of a senior can be affected by their physical condition, any illnesses that they may have, and certain medications they may be on. Without proper balance, it becomes much easier to fall over — and it becomes more difficult to regain your balance mid-fall.
- Poor mobility – Reduced mobility is common in seniors. This can increase the risk of falling and make it more difficult to recover after tripping or slipping in order to prevent the fall from taking place.
- Poor eyesight – If you can’t see where you are walking in low light situations because of poor eyesight, you’re more likely to trip over something. Combined with poor balance and mobility, this increases the risk of a fall.
As for the injuries that are so often caused by falls, these occur because seniors simply don’t have the body strength that they once had. Bones tend to weaken as you age, which means that they are more likely to fracture on impact as you become older.
Ways to Improve Senior Mobility and Prevent Falls
With all of the physical issues that seniors often have, injuries are much more likely to occur when a senior falls. The best way to avoid such injuries is to focus on fall prevention. The following are a few fall prevention tips:
- Build up your strength – Just because the body tends to weaken naturally as you age does not mean that you can’t do anything to strengthen it. A physiotherapist can help determine what your strength levels are and prescribe age and skill-appropriate exercises and workouts that can help improve the strength in specific areas of the body. Strengthening your body can not only help to prevent injuries resulting from minor falls, it can help improve senior mobility, thereby preventing falls in the first place.
- Improve your balance – Better balance will make it easier to recover from a trip or a slip, thereby preventing the fall. A physiotherapist can help you to improve your balance and stability through a number of exercises and postures customized to your specific physical abilities.
- Use a gait aid – If you experience challenges with mobility, then a gait aid can be very beneficial to help you get around safely without risking a loss of balance. A gait aid can also help make up for a lack of physical strength in your legs. There are different gait aid tools available, from walkers to canes, that you can use depending on your specific needs.
Although you may become more vulnerable to potential injuries as you age, there are ways to improve your strength, balance and mobility through physiotherapy and gait aids to reduce the risk of potentially harmful falls.
What we can do for you
Elite Physio has the staff with the education, background, and passion to help each and every patient that we treat. We have a team that includes Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, a Nutritionist and Psychologist. So, no matter the type of pain and how long it has been bothering you, we can help!